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Politics

Governor Reacts to Attorney General's MOHELA Lawsuit

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/governorre_1202.mp3

Governor Matt Blunt said Wednesday that the attorney general's lawsuit against the MOHELA Board of Directors is politically motivated. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Republican Governor Matt Blunt answered questions about the lawsuit one day after Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon filed the suit in St Louis County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit contends the board violated the state's open meetings law 12 times culminating in an open meeting in the governor's office that lasted only a matter of minutes...It was at this meeting that, without any discussion, the board approved selling some MOHELA assets to fund Blunt's Lewis and Clark Initiative, which gives universities funds for capital projects.

MOHELA's associate director of business development Will Schaffner says that it's MOHELA's policy not to comment on any litigation in which the agency is involved.

Nixon is asking the court to nullify the vote taken during this meeting...If the courts agree, that would nullify the board's decision to sell part of MOHELA's assets.

When asked if a violation of the sunshine law occurred, the governor said it's up to the MOHELA board to answer that question.

Blunt says it would be quote-an extreme measure for the courts to nullify the MOHELA's boards vote to sell part of the agency's assets.

Testifying before the Senate Education committee Tuesday, assistant attorney general Jeff Schaeperkoetter said MOHELA's board was under pressure to approve the sale of its assets.

Governor Matt Blunt says he doesn't believe the MOHELA board was under pressure to vote to sell off assets.

Some Republican lawmakers have raised questions about the motivation of Attorney General Jay Nixon, who's said he'll challenge Blunt in the governor's race in 2008.

Blunt says he believes Nixon's lawsuit is a political move.

In an interview with KSMU, the attorney general's spokesman Scott Holste said the lawsuit has nothing to do with politics.

Now that the attorney general has filed the lawsuit, MOHELA board members will have a chance to respond with their own filing.